Oil prices continue to inch higher, with new reports that the White House is considering a ban on Russian crude oil.
At 3:01 pm ET, WTI crude had risen to $115.20 per barrel, up nearly 7% on the day and up more than $20 on the week. Brent crude was trading at $117.70, up 6.58% on the day and up more than $19 on the week.
On Thursday, the White House had tersely dismissed the idea of banning Russian crude oil imports, pointing out that doing so could cause oil and gasoline prices to rise even more than they already had.
But other U.S. lawmakers have pushed for a full ban, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
On the other hand, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki downplayed the role Russian crude oil plays in the United States, adding that it only makes up 10% of the total crude oil that the United States imports.
But by Friday, the White House’s take on banning Russian crude oil softened.
The Biden Administration is now said to be looking at what can be done immediately to make up for Russian crude oil, should they take that route, White House Council of Economic Advisors chair Cecilia Rouse said on Friday.
“We are considering a range of options, but what’s really essential is that we maintain a steady supply of global energy,” Rouse said at a press briefing.
The United States imported 12.5 million barrels—or 405,000 bpd--of Russian crude oil and crude oil products in December, according to the Energy Information Administration’s latest monthly data. For straight Russian crude oil, the United States imported 90,000 bpd.
Crude oil production in the United States has stagnated at 11.6 million bpd according to the latest EIA data, down from 13.1 million bpd prior to the pandemic.
A ban on Russian crude oil and crude products could send oil—and gasoline—prices even higher.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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